Mobile app for service desk

Why We Just Revamped Our Mobile App

Written by on September 26, 2017

60% of all active agents on Freshservice use the mobile app.

That’s an impressive statistic. Like all other popular ITSM solutions, we had put out the customary mobile version some time ago — but this level of usage was beyond the expectations we had at the time. So we sat down and chatted with customers who were heavy mobile users, to find out what drew them to the app — and, of course, how we could add more value.

Our key takeaway was that the mobile app wasn’t primarily used for high-load functions, but for all those moments when IT agents are away from their desks — lunch breaks, delayed commutes, field work, and so on. Our customers told us that they look to the mobile app mainly for increased productivity and mobility. Many echoed what one five-star review on the Play store claims —

“The Freshservice mobile application alone has allowed for more productivity in one hour than I was able to get out of our other PSA at a desktop computer in almost a half day.”

Next, we had a look at what our competition was up to on the small screen. We decided we didn’t just want to transfer our desktop app to mobile, focusing on the 4 pillars of ITIL (change, release, problem, and incident management) the same way as in the desktop app. We already read several research reports on enterprise mobile apps, which suggested that while customers appreciate and utilize these apps, they rarely exceed expectations.

It was clearly time to stop looking at our mobile experience as a mere value-add, and examine it as an independent offering. Our customers weren’t using it in the same way they used the desktop app, and their expectations from it were entirely different. We decided to exceed those expectations.

Historically, enterprise mobile apps don’t feature the latest UI (user interface) or focus much on UX (user experience). They tend to lag behind, and are generally far too complex for what their audiences expect from a mobile experience. They don’t make enough use of the unique functionalities available to them on the mobile platform, focusing instead on meticulously recreating the desktop experience. But when small-screen functions become too complicated, they cease to aid productivity, and users go back to the desktop app — relegating mobile to an emergency on-the-go tool.

So we didn’t set our benchmark against our competitors or other enterprise apps. We started completely from scratch.

“Wow, an app that works and is super clean. Great job.”

Where do most of our mobile end-users spend their time? Not just at work, but throughout the day? What are the apps they use and love? Primarily social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or services like AirBnB — all of which sport ultra-contemporary, simple UIs and similarly intuitive user experiences. We decided to take inspiration for our UI and UX from such hugely popular B2C apps, creating a more familiar and natural mobile experience for customers on our B2B platform — and hoping to set a new standard for user-friendly mobile experiences in the ITSM space.

Mobile-based functionality

Since we were, after all, building a mobile app, we decided to leverage the same kind of mobile functionality present in the apps our customers were using most often. The aim was both to provide an intuitive user experience and to add tangible value by saving time and allowing them to get through tasks as simply as possible.

Quick menus

The most commonly-used actions within a ticket are now available as always-visible shortcut buttons. You can reply, add a note, or forward a ticket with a single tap from the quick menu on the ticket screen.

Push notifications

Push notifications vastly simplify incident and approvals management, sending out notifications in real time. This eliminates the natural delay caused by email and service desk notifications, as users always have their mobiles with them. When tapped, the notification takes you straight into the relevant ticket, and you can carry out your action with just another tap — simplifying and speeding up the entire process.

Barcode scanner

Another feature very unique to the mobile platform’s capabilities is the barcode scanner, which utilizes the mobile’s native camera. This vastly simplifies asset management — inventory checks can be carried out simply by scanning barcodes. When a barcode is scanned, the app runs a search to see if it is tied to an already existing asset. If so, all information pertaining to the asset is made visible. If not, it automatically creates a new asset page, where you can immediately log the asset by filling in the relevant details.

“Amazing software and app. Lots of features. Stable with quick support.”

Mobile-specific features

Along with our UI/UX revamp, we closely examined how our customers preferred to use our app and how best we could improve the experience. As productivity was the main motivator (getting more done as agents could access the service desk even when away from their workstations) we decided to build on this first, leveraging mobile’s unique capabilities.

To-Dos

The perfect IT agent would have 8 arms. A service desk agent is the very definition of a multitasker, halfway through several different tasks at any given moment. We decided to make things easier by creating a single viewpoint for all the tasks they have lined up for the day. Our To-Dos module curates all the day’s tasks from across service desk modules, automatically prioritizing them based on SLA and ticket type. Manual entry of tasks, as in external to-do and productivity apps, isn’t required. The agent’s entire workstream is automatically made available in one place.

What do you do every morning before you dive into the day’s work? Go through emails, messages, notifications and so on to see what your workday looks like. To-Dos understands this — every morning, it’ll send you a push notification showing you how many tasks you have lined up for the day. When you tap the notification, it takes you straight to your To-Dos task list. All that’s left to do is get to work and start ticking items off.

Approval Management

Approvals often go hand-in-hand with ticket resolution. However, approval notifications join many others in your service desk notification inbox. This means that when you have status updates coming in on 40 tickets a day, things can get a little jumbled up, especially when viewed on a mobile screen.

Our new approval management module handles this issue beautifully. Once an approval request is triggered, it sends out both an email and a push notification. You can tap on the notification to go straight to the request that needs approval. Alternatively, if you tap on the approval link in the email notification and have the app installed on your mobile, the app opens the approval request directly. Either way, you get where you need to go in a single tap. It takes just another tap to accept or deny approval.

When you receive a ticket that requires a approval from a manager, you can forward it to them directly — and if they have the app installed, they get a push notification in real time through which they can directly approve the ticket. Receiving and responding to simple notifications in real time vastly speeds up the approval process, while taking far less time out of the approver’s and agent’s day.

“This app gives me quick notifications and full access to the tools I use on a regular basis. I actually like it better than the desktop interface.”

Overall, finding out that 60% of our active service desk agents regularly used the mobile app led us to spend more time enhancing usage and functionality, while setting our own standards to provide the absolute best mobile service desk experience we could create based on research, customer feedback, and our own service desk statistics. The app is designed to be the perfect complement to the desktop app — the ease of use makes it a fantastic choice both for agents, who resolve tickets much faster and have the option of a more flexible schedule, and for managers, who can view changes and approve requests in one or two easy steps while in meetings, on business trips, and so on, without taking time and attention away from their other crucial tasks. Working hand-in-hand with the desktop app, the new mobile app works to create a well-rounded, time-saving, productivity-focused user experience.

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